I have a threenager.
He is about a month shy of turning four years old. We’ve done the “terrible twos”, we’re almost at the end of “threenagerdom” and in my head once the clock ticks over on his fourth year we’ll finally kiss the tantrums and mood swings goodbye and stand witness with misty-eyed awe as the miracle child of perpetual-niceness emerges from his chrysalis, like a paediatric version of fucking “Cocoon” or some shit.
I’ve heard a few subterranean mumblings from my less salubrious friends about the “fucking fours” – the bigger and nastier brother of the “terrible twos” – but I am going to ignore all of that and pretend that my kid hitting the four year-old stage will be some sort of miraculous rite-of-passage milestone, one that will see him finally discard many of those less desirable behaviours like empty shells that no longer fit.
Behaviours like biting me on the ass at the bakery, because I refused to buy him a cupcake.
Behaviours like telling me every single day how much he hates my cooking.
Behaviours like telling me with the first mouthful of a new meal that it is “The WORST thing I EVER tasted”.
Behaviours like threatening to bite me on the nose because I won’t let him sit in my lap.
Behaviours like calling me “old lady” or “you old slapper”.
Behaviours like saying he will “KICK that bird in the FACE!” because, well, I can’t quite remember.
I’m reading all that back now and it sounds like my kid is a violent little sociopath with piss-poor manners and a penchant for publicly humiliating his mother.
Truth is, they are just a series of tiny, non-contextualised little snap-shots of brain-snaps, tantrums and lapses in judgement or impulse control. 95% of the time he is a delightful, articulate, well-mannered, sweet, thoughtful little boy. But that 5% can be killer. I’m not even sure where the physical aggression stuff is coming from – preschool maybe, neurobiology perhaps – but he is definitely in the midst of the testosterone surge that 3-4 year old boys are purported to have, on top of the teenage-like metamorphosis many three year-olds go through which results in wild mood swings, lots of melodramatic arguments over nothing, outright defiance, muttered cursing and storming off to his room in a huff.
It makes for interesting days, and by “interesting” I mean frustrating.
Bring on the “mellifluous fours”.